Creating and supporting the Institute of Human Rights was the result of a strategic decision made by the University of Deusto. It was aligned with the UD’s ideology and mission to serve society by promoting justice, in which human rights are essential. The UD assumes the costs of setting up and running the Institute that are not covered by other sources, thus guaranteeing its permanence.
However, a large part of the Institute's financing comes from collaboration with other public institutions engaged in the field of human rights, publicly funded projects awarded to the Institute’s team or private donations. Although a comparatively smaller percentage of its total income, the official postgraduate study programmes run by the Institute also contribute to its income.
The following public institutions have conventions or agreements to finance some of the Institute's activities:
- The European Commission, through the Department of Humanitarian Aid (ECHO)
- The Basque Government, through two of its general directorates:
- The Human Rights Office
- The Development Cooperation Office
- The Pluralism and Coexistence Foundation, a public foundation attached to the Spanish Ministry of Justice
- The Guipuzcoa Regional Council, through its Cooperation, Human Rights and Equality Office.
- The Biscay Regional Council, through its Directorate General of Equality and Citizens’ Rights
As for projects awarded in competitive calls, the Institute receives funds through different programmes from the following institutions:
- The European Commission, through the Directorate General for Education and Culture or the Directorate General for Research
- The Spanish Government, through the Ministry of Science and Innovation
- The Basque Government, through the Department of Education, Universities and Research
- The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), an independent agency under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation
- The Ford Foundation
- The Institute also submits applications in public calls for proposals to finance projects as a part of a consortium with other universities or social agencies. It has submitted applications with the Alboan Foundation, the Hegoa Institute for Studies on Development and International Cooperation and the Ellacuría Foundation.